Page last updated at 17:01 GMT, Friday, 9 January 2009

Iceland buys 51 Woolworths stores

Iceland store
Iceland says the move will create 2,500 new jobs

Frozen food retailer Iceland has bought 51 former Woolworths stores, and said it plans to create 2,500 new jobs.

The announcement comes just three days after the final 200 Woolworths stores closed their doors for the last time.

"We are confident we can help to support the local community in these towns who have lost a major High Street retailer in Woolworths," said Iceland.

Woolworths went into administration in November, but was unable to find a buyer to take on the company.

Previous bid

Alton, Barnsley, Belper, Bethnal Green, Bexhill On Sea, Bicester, Billericay, Blandford Forum, Bodmin, Boreham Wood, Bow, Braintree, Broadstairs, Devizes, Exmouth, Fraserburgh, Frome, Greenford, Hackney, Hailsham, Harold Hill, Haverhill, Herne Bay, Hexham, Highgate, Honiton, Kilburn High Road, Leyton, Malvern, Matlock, Mill Hill, Minehead, Monmouth, Morpeth, Morriston, Newtownards, Palmers Green, Pinner (Rayner's Lane), Palmers Green, Plumstead, Pontypool, Poplar, Portslade, Ringwood, St Neots, Stoke Newington, Strood, Sudbury, Swaffham, Wakefield, Wallington, Whitstable

Iceland first made an offer to buy all of Woolworths' 815 stores last August, but Woolworths rejected the bid, for an unconfirmed amount, calling it "unacceptable".

Around three quarters of the 51 Woolies stores Iceland has bought are in the south of England, including 10 in London.

Iceland currently has 682 outlets.

Founded in 1970, the firm was bought in 2005 by a consortium led by Icelandic investment group Baugur.

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